A song that traveled places

Way back in 2008, I had posted a song in my old blog. It was a prayer song that I used to sing in my school everyday during the morning assembly. The song is very special to me because it was written and composed by two teachers of my school and I used to sing it with my good friend from the school days. The lyrics and composition of this song is so simple yet beautiful. So whenever someone asked me to sing a prayer song, I would sing this one.

Who would have thought that it would inspire many more people! I came to know from the comments to the blog post that the song was rendered in many Malayali events and appreciated by many people. And just the last week, I got a message from a person saying that her daughter would be singing this song at an inaugural event of a charitable trust which was formed in memory of her nephew. It is amazing how a song transcends the places and appreciated by people. And I wish those teachers knew about it.

Here goes the song again…

Mazha Njaan Arinjirunnilla (cover)

It has been more than two months since I have sung or recorded anything. Thanks to my wifey and kiddo who were kind enough to leave me alone on a Saturday evening, I recorded a cover version of this beautiful song without any backing track. Do hear and let me know how it sounds. 🙂

Movie: Doctor Patient (2009)
Lyrics: Rafeeq Ahammed
Music: Bennet-Veetrag
Original singer: Hariharan
Covered by: Joseph Thomas (Jo)

Mazha njaan arinjirunnilla (cover) by jocalling

Baliyaay Thirumunpil (Christian Devotional)

Many years ago, a Christian devotional album had completely changed the way people heard the Christian devotional songs. It brought in writers like Chittoor Gopi, poet ONV Kuruppu etc and singers like Yesuda, Chitra, M G Sreekumar, Unnimenon, Minmini and Sujatha. The album, though initially was not well received by tradionalists who said ‘it sounds like film songs’, was a big hit. It’s first song “Rakshakaa” sung by Yesudas shot to fame and was sung in stages regardless of religions. To put an example, that song was the equivalent of “paLLikettu shabarimalakku” if you talk about popularity. The composer of the album is Tomin J Thachankary, who is the Inspector General of Police in Kerala now (by the way, Thachankary is now infamous for his alleged terrorist links).

Another album followed, which was titled “Thiruvachanam”. More filmi singers and more poets followed in this one too and it became yet another hit. The song I am posting today is from this album. It’s a beautiful song and has beautiful lyrics. On this weekend that Christians celebrate as the Holy Weekend, I would like to post this song and I wish all my readers and listeners a happy and peaceful Easter. Remember the magical message that Easter gives – hope.

Song: Baliyaay thirumunpil
Album: Thirivachanam
Lyricist: P.K.Gopi
Music: Tomin J Thachangari IPS
Original singer: Yesudas
Covered by: Joseph Thomas (Jo)

Download “Baliyaay Thirumunpil” cover MP3 here (5.1 MB)

Pavizham Pol (cover)

My colleague and friend Sitara had asked me to do a cover of this song long back. Didn’t have the karaoke track back then but I got it recently and wanted to record something over the weekend so badly, so I recorded this song at midnight (yes, exactly past midnight) on Saturday. This song has beautiful lyrics from the Jananpeeth winner and Kerala’s most famous poet ONV Kuruppu and the magical music of Johnson master. What you would note about Johnson master is that he gives a lot of space for the vocalist with a minimal orchestration. And these two talented people joined the film director late Padmarajan in a wonderful movie project called “Namukku Paarkkan Munthirithoppukal”. Here is my version of the song.

Song: Pavizham pol
Movie: Namakku Paarkan Munthiri Thoppukal
Singer: Yesudas
Lyrics : O.N.V
music : Johnson

Download the MP3 of my cover of “Pavizham Pol”

Nilaa Nilaa Mizhiye (from Tournament)

It’s been a long long time since I have sung or recorded anything. The little one is taking most of my time, not that I am complaining. With him, life is so much different but in a very positive way that I forget the sleep interruptions, waking up early, spending time with him and all that. I just love being with him. 🙂 He is the most precious thing ever in my life. But last weekend, I took sometime off baby sitting with wifey’s permission and recorded this song. The thing is, I have not been singing much these days and music blogging is an excuse to get back to singing. To sing properly after a few months was really tiring but I enjoyed every moment of it.

Here is yet another gem from Deepak Dev. Let me know what you think and thanks for listening. 🙂

Happy New Year and a song!

First of all, Happy New Year everyone! May this year bring lots of happiness, peace and prosperity in your lives. May this new year also teach you to be your betterselves. What better way to spend a new year eve than composing and singing a new song! Nisikanth (from Eenam) sent me his beautiful lyrics for a new year song. The song is meant to be the first song for the new effort called “Naadham”. I composed the song instantly because I loved the lyrics so much because it had the flavour of New Year and friendship of the virtual world. I sang a rough draft and sent it to Krishna Raj (who has composed and orchestrated a song for Blogswara V6). This is the first time I talked to Krishna and we got the tempo going. Krishna created an amazing orchestration for my composition, almost instantly. I am awestruck by the talent of this guy, Krishna. When I got the minus track to record the song again, I was taken to another plane because of Krishna’s magical touch.

So here comes a song that was born in just 2 days, through emails. My first song in 2011. Do hear and let us know what you think.

Song: Swaramunarum Manassukalil
Lyrics: Nisikanth
Orchestration: Krishna Raj
Composed and sung by: Joseph Thomas (Jo)

Download “Swaramunarum Manassukalil” (7.69 MB)

Lyrics:

സ്വരമുണരും മനസ്സുകളിൽ
ഇതൾ വിരിയും നാദലയം
ഏതൊരാജന്മ ബന്ധമായ്
പൂത്തുനില്ക്കുമീ സൗഹൃദം
ഏതപൂർവ്വ സൌഭാഗ്യമായ്
നമ്മളൊന്നുചേർന്നീവിധം
ഈ വേദിയിൽ കൂട്ടായ്‌വരും
ഈണങ്ങളായി നേരാം
പുതുവൽസരാശംസകൾ….
പുതുവൽസരാശംസകൾ….

ലോകമെങ്ങുമീകൈവിരൽ
തുമ്പിലേക്കൂടിനുള്ളിലായ്
കോടിവർണ്ണങ്ങൾ കൺകൾ തൻ
മുന്നിൽനീർത്ത കണ്ണാടിയിൽ
തേടുന്നൊരീ നവ വേദിയിൽ, പ്രിയ
മോടിന്നു നാം കൂട്ടായിടാം
പുതുവൽസരാശംസകൾ….
പുതുവൽസരാശംസകൾ….

കാണുമെന്നെങ്കിലും യുഗം
കാത്തിരുന്നിടാമെങ്കിലും
കാത്തുവച്ചിടാമാദിനം
കണ്ണടഞ്ഞുപോകാതെ നാം
ഈ യാത്രയിൽ, ഈ വേളയിൽ, നാ-
മൊത്തുചേർന്നുപാടാം
പുതുവൽസരാശംസകൾ….
പുതുവൽസരാശംസകൾ….

Ariyaatheyennaal (original composition)

Poet Sivakumar Ambalappuzha had posted a few lines of poetry in his Facebook page and asked if anyone would compose a tune for it. I was just about to get to bed after recording my Onam song when I saw this message. His lines were so beautiful and the music had to flow. That’s how this short piece was born. I had a quickie 10 minutes long composing and recording session. The song is incomplete, it’s only a couple of lines and if Sivakumar wills, we will probably make this a complete song soon. Here it is anyways, for you to listen.

Song: Ariyaatheyennaal
Composer & singer: Joseph Thomas (Jo)
Lyrics: Sivakumar Ambalappuzha

Download the draft MP3 of Ariyaatheyennaal (987 KB)

Happy Onam! And an Onam song

So here comes another Onam! A time for all Malayalees to come home and celebrate the togetherness with family and friends, the colorful Pookkalams and yummy Sadyas. Here I wish all my Malayalee friends a happy and prosperous Onam. Let us not forget the inspiring myth behind this festival – of everyone in the place being happy and prosperous, of everyone being just and fair to each other.

ഓണാശംസകള്‍!

I chose this song because of the Onam spirit that this song has, right from the beginning of the song with “aaRppO… EeRRO!”, poo viLi and the rhythm of a boat song. I should thank my friend Sujay who first brought this song to my notice when we had to choose a song for the Onam competition in our office and then to Vishnu for providing me the track. The track is made of some loops and gets faster at places and I had to make do with it.

Album: Poothaalam
Composer: Kannan
Lyricist: Chitoor Gopi
Singer: M G Sreekumar

Download MP3 of “Vannallo Ponnonam” (4.25 MB)

Vande Mataram 2010

It’s another Independence Day. Time to celebrate where we have come so far and to remind ourselves of the roads ahead.

Independence Day is quite often considered as a time to display our nationalistic fervor. We exhibit our nationalism by waving flags or raising flags, distributing sweets and wishing each other. We also exchange emails that say we should take pride in our country etcetera but I wonder if that is what it is all about – an exhibition.

I have asked this question myself – am I proud of my country? I am. I am proud of all the good things and good people we have here. But at the same time I am ashamed of all the bad things and bad people and a bad system that we have in this country. And I think patriotism is not about feeling superior or inferior to any other countries in this world. Plainly put, it is about belonging here.

But just because I feel that I belong no where else in the world but here, it doesn’t mean that I would ridicule any other Indian who doesn’t feel like belonging here and find that sense of belonging elsewhere. I wouldn’t call him/her unpatriotic. Because their feeling of being alienated in their own country pauses a question before ourselves. What is it that makes them feel that way, though they have lived all their lives in this same soil? What makes them feel India is worse for them and perhaps there is a better place in the world than India? What makes them feel that they are secondary citizens in their own country? What makes them feel that democracy and politics are a softened form of the old colonial system? These are the questions that we should ask ourselves and to our society. And it would open up our eyes to see the nation in a different light. Through others’ eyes, and see what went wrong and where. It’s a long process. Seeing it, identifying it, talking about it, getting others to engage with it, making a movement, pressuring authorities to do something about it and thus finally making the change – however small or big it is. In this long process, often people would call you names – “un-patriotic“, “pseudo-nationalist“, “pseudo-secularist“, “anti-development” and what not. Let none of that make you feel down. Keep working your way.

I have high hopes for my country even through all the idiocy and the hopelessness it gives me at times. I think many things have changed for good from the way it was several years ago, thanks to the continued efforts of change makers from grass-root level. I am sure things will continue to improve as many selfless people work towards it even when they are being ridiculed by their fellow countrymen. And I don’t feel inferior of my country when I compare the situation here with other countries that have a more liberal, inclusive and better system in place. Because it did not happen for them on one fine day. It took many brave souls and a long process there too, perhaps the time they took for such changes was shorter.

So here is my humble tribute to those martyrs. To those who were shot at for speaking against the oppressors. Those who were jailed. Those who were beaten or hanged for voicing out. And to those freedom fighters of our times. Many of them, unknown to us. Those who work on to make India a better and better place. Those who work on several issues – dalit, tribal/adivasis, marginalized and economically backward communities, women, sexual minorities, health care, domestic violence, political violence, terrorism, religious extremism, justice, corporate crimes, environment and so on.

To all those brave souls, I dedicate my song…

Song: Vande Mataram 2010
Composed, lead & harmony vocals by: Joseph Thomas (Jo)

Download “Vande Mataram 2010” MP3 file here (3.58 MB)

Arikathaayaaro (cover)

Phew! It’s been a long time since I have posted some music here. As much as I love music, I have to admit that I am getting sick of posting karaokes. I just don’t feel much enthusiasm that I had during the initial days of music blogging to do the karaokes. I feel like a ghost of someone else when I do karaokes. People have a tendency to compare your version with the original regardless of how much you try to put your own signature to the song. And that makes me sick. I don’t want to be a ghost anymore. And that might perhaps mark the end of my online singing pretty soon if I don’t get to do the originals. (Yes, I still want do an album of myself with the original songs, composed and sung by myself, but I don’t have a producer yet). But still, the karaoke singing at least helps me keep up with music – singing – because otherwise I don’t seriously sing anything, so this is sort of a practice medium.

The song of the day is from the Malayalam movie Bodyguard, composed by my favorite music director Ouseppachan and sung by Ranjith. This is a pretty tough song that challenges the breath control with it’s fast pace and the plans that comes in between. Here is my try anyway.

Movie: Bodyguard (Malayalam)
Music: Ouseppachan
Original singer: Ranjith
Covered by: Joseph Thomas (Jo)

Download “Arikathaayaro” (3.77 MB)

(image courtesy: Sify.com)